THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three students from Kollam were nabbed by the Kerala Police Anti-Piracy Cell in the ongoing police probe into the alleged leak of the censor copy of blockbuster Malayalam film "Premam".
The three school children, who allegedly uploaded the film on the internet, were taken into custody from their homes in Kollam, about 70 km from the capital city, in the wee hours of Tuesday. They are now being interrogated by the police probe team here.
"Premam", being touted as a film which is going to break all collection records, had hit a rough patch very soon after its release in the last week of May, forcing its producer Anwar Rasheed to quit his membership of all Malayalam film organisations.
The leak of the film sent shock waves through the Malayalam film industry after it was found that the leaked copy, which was available freely, carried the watermark of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Meanwhile, the mother of one of the students expressed her anger and said the police want the real culprits to escape.
"These kids are being made scapegoats because they did what all others did and they saw the film on the mobile. Baseless stories are being circulated that these young kids have links with a mafia. We will deal with this case legally," the mother told reporters.
People staying near the homes of these children also expressed their anger against the police for trying to wriggle out of the case by charging the young students.
Joining hands on the issue was Liberty Basheer, head of the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation, who said their earlier stand of downing the shutters of around 380 theatres on July 9 to protest that no steps are being taken to check the piracy of new films, stands, and that the nabbing of these three students does not mean anything.
"There are people behind this from the film industry itself who have done this and if such characters are not nabbed, we will not go back on the July 9 token strike. The police have clear evidence with them," Basheer told reporters.
The film stars Nivin Pauly, billed as the rising star of the Malayalam film industry, through a string of hugely popular films like "Banglore Days", "Oru Vadekan Selfie" and "Ivide" to name a few.
Meanwhile, CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani is expected to arrive in the state capital in the coming days to personally oversee the probe.